Crowne Plaza Invitational: Course member Palmer can cash in on local knowledge at Colonial

Ryan Palmer knows every inch of Colonial
Ryan Palmer knows every inch of Colonial

Phil Mickelson landed a place for Dave Tindall last week and he's aiming to bag more winnings with this trio at Colonial CC...

"Palmer has made the top five twice and added a T14 inbetween in the last three years at Colonial CC and said 12 months ago: 'I think this tournament has so much meaning to me. And it means so much to try and win. I can't explain what it would feel like if I did that. This is the one tournament I gear up for the most.'"

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Favourites - best bet: Ryan Palmer @ 29.028/1

It's not hard to envisage clear favourite Jordan Spieth winning his home-State event and writing the latest chapter in the Rory and Jordan show.

But it's another Texan, Ryan Palmer, who may offer better value.

Palmer has made the top five twice and added a T14 inbetween in the last three years at Colonial CC and said 12 months ago: "I think this tournament has so much meaning to me. And it means so much to try and win. I can't explain what it would feel like if I did that. This is the one tournament I gear up for the most."

Why so keen? He's a member at Colonial (a full-dues paying one since 2010) and it was reported in 2013 that he plays there two or three times a week during the offseason and also when not playing on the PGA Tour.

Two years ago he opened with a 62 on the par 70 he knows so well while 2014 was the first time he'd shot all four rounds in the 60s so he's gradually putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Palmer, who says he "feels comfortable over every tee shot", missed the cut at Sawgrass last time but that should never put you off a bet on anyone. It happens.

He's played some great golf this year and was runner-up in Phoenix and T6 in the Texas Open. Palmer loves returning home to the Lone Star State as his last four results in Texas read: 6-5-22-7. Going further back, he's finished in the top 15 eight times in in his last 14 starts there and missed just one cut.

And if you want some very latest evidence as to Palmer's well-being, check this tweet dated May 14.

james edmondson @projock · May 14
@RyanPalmerPGA @CrownePlazaInv was rocking today. Members were lined up on 18 to watch Ryan try to break course record. Shot 28-33. 61!

The 28/1 certainly seems fair.

Mid-range - best bet: John Senden @ 67.066/1

At the mid-range prices, there are quite a few I like. Ben Martin and Russell Knox both made the top 25 when they played the tournament for the first time last year while Pat Perez once had three top 10s on the spin at Colonial. That trio are all in decent nick.

But at 66/1, it's John Senden who gets the vote as he appears to be bringing plenty to the table.

The Aussie closed 68-66-68 to make the top five in this event last year while he also cracked the top 10 in 2011 and 2004. He added another top 20 in 2009.

As a broad rule, backing Aussies in Texas is never a bad idea given that the dry, windy, firm conditions are what they experienced growing up. An Australian, Adam Scott, is the defending champion here, Scott and Jason Day have won the nearby Byron Nelson, while Matt Jones (Shell Houston Open) and Steven Bowditch (Valero Texas Open) both won in Texas last year.

Senden arrives at Colonial on the back of a T8 in the Players Championship at Sawgrass and, before that, a run to the quarter-finals of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play in California.

Explaining his upturn in form, Senden said at Sawgrass: "I'm feeling a lot better with my body. End of last year was terrible and then even the beginning of this year was tough on the hip region. So I've been trying to really work hard to get fit and get out there and start playing some golf shots."

Previously at the Match Play, he'd revealed: "I did some great work with my coach from Australia for about a month. He was in Augusta and we did some work in New Orleans and I felt like it was coming around. I've been striking the ball well."

Not only that, his putting is looking good too. Long-time observers of Senden will automatically regard this as his Achilles Heel but he was 13th in Strokes Gained Putting last year and, although his seasonal figures this time are poor, he was 4th for SGP at Sawgrass.

On a course he likes and in his best form of the season, Senden looks an each-way bet at 66s.

Long-shot - best bet: Danny Lee @ 126.0125/1

In 2008, Lee was the youngest ever> winner(18 years) of the US Amateur.

In 2009, he became the then youngest ever winner on the European Tour when capturing the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth.

In 2011, he won the Nationwide Tour's WNB Golf Classic (that was in Texas by the way!).

In 2014 he was runner-up in the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open.

Perhaps his rate of progress has been a little slower than hoped for since those heady days of 2008 and 2009 but Lee is just 24-years-old and remains a huge talent.

He was featured on 'Inside The PGA Tour' earlier this year and said: "My goal is to finish top 20 every week. I have a feeling I'm going to do something special this year."

A first PGA Tour win beckons, therefore, and he had another run at it when T3 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

More recently he finished T7 at the Valspar Championship and T17 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational while last week he shot 71-69-69-70 to take T13 in the Wells Fargo Championship.

The Korean-born Lee, who moved to New Zealand as a youngster, has played Colonial twice. In the first, as a teenager in 2009, he made the cut and finished T46 while he returned last year to take T38 (71-69-68-70).

Other good Texas form includes a top 20 in the 2012 Byron Nelson and a win and a second in the now's WNB Golf Classic.

Lee bases himself in Dallas with his family these days so will have plenty of support this week and can hopefully make a big impression at 125/1.

Dave's 2015 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection)

Staked: £510
Returned: £226.66
P/L: -£283.34

(Includes last week’s Wells Fargo)

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